I traveled solo from May 4-26. I call it my "charmed" trip because so many things that could have gone wrong didn't. The Iceland volcano erupted about three weeks before I was to head overseas. I debated, “Should I cancel the trip?” What was the worst that could happen -- I get to London and can’t get to Greece? I get to Greece, but can’t get back to London? I get back to London, but can’t get back to LA? With no dependents to look after and no job calling me back, I went for it. While in Selsey I kept checking the Internet for flight cancellations. Two days before I was to fly to Greece many flights were canceled around Europe due to volcanic ash. Fortunately, the skies were clear on the day of my departure. Adding to the confusion were numerous reports of riots and strikes in Athens.
One day Rosemary and I drove into Brighton as I wanted to visit the Royal Pavilion.
http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/RoyalPavilion/Pages/home.aspx. You get an audio headset with your entry ticket and it takes about an hour to walk through the rooms. I found the tour of this ornate, chinoiserie-style palace interesting, and Brighton itself looks like a place where I would enjoy spending more time. (Did I mention it was cold?) I enjoyed the novel “The Sugar Pavilion” by Rosalind Laker years ago; the story is based on the Brighton and the palace. We had a good lunch in Brighton at Pinocchio, www.pinocchio.co.uk. On this trip I visited SELSEY (West Sussex) in England, MYKONOS and SANTORINI in Greece and ended in LONDON. To skip ahead within this trip just click on the location name in this paragraph.
Friends met me at Heathrow and I spent four nights with Rosemary and Clifford in Selsey. Okay, so the weather didn’t quite live up to “charmed,” but our time together was nice. The daily average high should have been around 62 degrees, but it never got over 55 and one day it reached a whopping 48 degrees. I live in the California desert…I don’t do cold very well, so I packed a heavy jacket, gloves, scarf and a hat. I broke my rule about traveling with only carry-on.
Selsey is a charming bedroom community where my friends live less than a five-minute’s walk to the ocean. We spent some time in neighboring Chichester where we visited the 900-year-old Chichester Cathedral, www.chichestercathedral.org.uk, and had lunch in the crypt restaurant, The Buttery, www.the buttery.org/chichester.htm. There were stalls set up on the High Street where vendors were selling items such as homemade scones and pies of lamb and mint. So typically British! The first night we had traditional fish and chips for dinner, the second night we had a great meal at New Magna, a local Indian restaurant, http://www.newmagna.co.uk, and the third night we dined at the Tipsy Teapot, a fun and quirky restaurant with lots of little rooms and good food (Note 2014, this restaurant is now closed). Rosemary prepared a perfect lamb with mint sauce for our final dinner together at their new, lovely cottage.
Rosemary & Clifford at their cottage-by-the-sea
Clifford, Rosemary, me and Jan at the Tipsy Teapot
On the way home we strolled down a lane filled with beautiful thatched-roof cottages.
Left to right: Mickey, Jan, Rosemary and Clifford